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Had to wait longer than many to get a milestone in career: Shahid Kapoor

In a candid interview, the Padmaavat actor spoke of his career oppurtunities, working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and how he unwinds in 30 seconds.


Actor Shahid Kapoor, happy and content to receive a positive response from the audience for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat, says that with each film, he has had to wait much longer than many of his contemporaries to achieve milestones in his career. But he chose to maximize his space with a skilled performance.

In Padmaavat, Kapoor essays Rawal Ratan Singh. Though the actor has done some critically acclaimed films like Haider (2014) and Udta Punjab (2016), he has not been showered with the stardom received by his Padmaavat co-stars, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, for their films like Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) and Bajirao Mastani (2016).

"I think I always had to work much harder to get a good opportunity and had to wait longer than many, to get a milestone in my career. But I view it like this — God has given me the opportunity to learn, has given me a destiny of a student. I have never given the same exam in life, but different. That is how I learnt different things in life and that has added to my experience," Kapoor said in an interview.

He believes Padmaavat threw up a "tricky opportunity" which could have "gone horribly wrong".

"But I took that risk because I have seen how after working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali sir, actors have got a huge mileage in terms of audience reach and success".

This was the first time Kapoor was working with Bhansali. He says the director only commands excellence.

"I think Sanjay sir has a tendency to keep pushing and trying until he gets exactly what he wants from a performer. His passion to achieve excellence is much focused and therefore, he looks like a taskmaster. It is nothing negative, I would rather say that people who do not have that desire to achieve excellence, should not work with him. As a director, he is not difficult. He is just a genius and focused."

Kapoor was confident about the film and not worried about its box office performance. However, he was concerned with a deeper aspect of his decision to take up the project.

"I questioned myself — can I take the ownership of this film? Can I stand tall and say that I took a right decision by doing this film? Will I be able to perform my best before a filmmaker like Bhansali? Will I make the presence of my character felt in the film between two author-backed characters?"

That's when Kapoor went back to classics to find inspiration for his performance. He sought reference points from veterans like Dilip Kumar of Mughal-E-Azam (1960) and Amitabh Bachchan from Sholay (1975).

Asked about how his father, veteran actor Pankaj Kapur reacted to the film, Kapoor said: "Dad gave me a long hug, pulled my cheek and said we will talk about the film over a cup of coffee. But since then, I did not get a chance to go out with dad. I think I have to go for that."

Not reeling under the hangover of an intense character like Rawal Ratan Singh, the actor says he has wife Mira and daughter Misha to unwind with: "Thankfully, I have Misha. It just takes 30 seconds for me to unwind."